Should Vanguard Small-Cap Growth ETF (VBK) Be on Your Investing Radar?

Looking for broad exposure to the Small Cap Growth segment of the US equity market? You should consider the Vanguard Small-Cap Growth ETF (VBK), a passively managed exchange traded fund launched on 01/26/2004.

The fund is sponsored by Vanguard. It has amassed assets over $12.54 billion, making it the largest ETFs attempting to match the Small Cap Growth segment of the US equity market.

Why Small Cap Growth

Sitting at a market capitalization below $2 billion, small cap companies tend to be high-potential stocks compared to its large and mid cap counterparts, but come with higher risk.

Growth stocks have higher than average sales and earnings growth rates. While these are expected to grow faster than the broader market, they also have higher valuations. Additionally, growth stocks have a greater level of risk associated with them. They are likely to outperform value stocks in strong bull markets but over the longer-term, value stocks have delivered better returns than growth stocks in almost all markets.


Investors should also pay attention to an ETF's expense ratio. Lower cost products will produce better results than those with a higher cost, assuming all other metrics remain the same.

Annual operating expenses for this ETF are 0.07%, making it one of the least expensive products in the space.

It has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 0.53%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

It is important to delve into an ETF's holdings before investing despite the many upsides to these kinds of funds like diversified exposure, which minimizes single stock risk. And, most ETFs are very transparent products that disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

This ETF has heaviest allocation to the Information Technology sector--about 24.70% of the portfolio. Healthcare and Industrials round out the top three.

Looking at individual holdings, Targa Resources Corp. (TRGP) accounts for about 0.90% of total assets, followed by Texas Pacific Land Corp. (TPL) and Fair Isaac Corp. (FICO).

Performance and Risk

VBK seeks to match the performance of the CRSP U.S. Small Cap Growth Index before fees and expenses. The CRSP U.S. Small Cap Growth Index measures the investment return of small-capitalization growth stocks.

The ETF has added roughly 2.71% so far this year and is down about -10.21% in the last one year (as of 03/14/2023). In the past 52-week period, it has traded between $188.16 and $255.74.

The ETF has a beta of 1.14 and standard deviation of 29.38% for the trailing three-year period, making it a medium risk choice in the space. With about 698 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.


Vanguard Small-Cap Growth ETF carries a Zacks ETF Rank of 3 (Hold), which is based on expected asset class return, expense ratio, and momentum, among other factors. Thus, VBK is a good option for those seeking exposure to the Style Box - Small Cap Growth area of the market. Investors might also want to consider some other ETF options in the space.

The iShares S&P Small-Cap 600 Growth ETF (IJT) and the iShares Russell 2000 Growth ETF (IWO) track a similar index. While iShares S&P Small-Cap 600 Growth ETF has $4.87 billion in assets, iShares Russell 2000 Growth ETF has $8.95 billion. IJT has an expense ratio of 0.18% and IWO charges 0.23%.


Retail and institutional investors increasingly turn to passively managed ETFs because they offer low costs, transparency, flexibility, and tax efficiency; these kind of funds are also excellent vehicles for long term investors.

To learn more about this product and other ETFs, screen for products that match your investment objectives and read articles on latest developments in the ETF investing universe, please visit Zacks ETF Center.

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Vanguard Small-Cap Growth ETF (VBK): ETF Research Reports

Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Targa Resources, Inc. (TRGP) : Free Stock Analysis Report

iShares Russell 2000 Growth ETF (IWO): ETF Research Reports

iShares S&P Small-Cap 600 Growth ETF (IJT): ETF Research Reports

Texas Pacific Land Corporation (TPL) : Free Stock Analysis Report

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Zacks Investment Research

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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